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Northern Ireland must 'channel the anger' over penalty decision - O'Neill

Northern Ireland must 'channel the anger' over penalty decision - O'Neill
From ESPN - November 9, 2017

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill said his side will have to "channel the anger" stemming from the controversial penalty decision that allowed Switzerland to win the first leg of their UEFA World Cup playoff.

Xherdan Shaqiri's volley from distance struck the upper arm of defender Corry Evans when he had his back turned as he jumped in front of the shot at Windsor Park on Thursday night.

Replays appeared to show Evans' arm was not outstretched, but Romanian referee Ovidiu Hategan awarded a penalty nonetheless, andRicardo Rodriguez calmly converted from the spot.

O'Neill was at a loss to explain the decision while also suggesting Switzerland defender Fabian Schar should have received a red card for a reckless early challenge on Stuart Dallas.

"It's staggering really that the referee can give that penalty decision in that situation," O'Neill said on Sky Sports. "He was six yards from the incident, he has no one in his line of sight.

"Corry has just gone to block it, his body is turned and the ball actually hits him more on the shoulder than the arm so it is incredible.

"I thought he had blown for a foul or for offside, so to give a penalty for that, when nobody appealed, it is bewildering really. In such a defining moment in the match we feel very hard done by.

"The tackle by Schar was a borderline red card, the referee certainly did not do us any favours tonight."

Switzerland had several chances to have won the game in less controversial circumstances, while the hosts failed to register a shot on target.

O'Neill wants his side to channel their sense of injustice and turn the tie around in Basel on Sunday.

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